A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Guardian's take on the "victims" of 1956

Am I the only person who found this an odd angle for the Guardian to go into such detail on in its coverage of the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian uprising against the Soviets?

Reams of coverage of how Hungary caused some (but not all) British Communists to wake up and realise they had been supporting a mass-murdering tyranny and that Stalin hadn't been a nice man at all. And this made some of them upset.

A) There were plenty of people who didn't need to see Hungarian democrats being crushed by Russian tanks to know that Communism was evil and the USSR and its satellites were prison states - remember 1956 was 35 years after the "Red Terror", nearly 20 years after the Show Trials and disappearances to the Gulag and 10 years after the overthrow of the democratic coalition governments that briefly existed in some of Eastern Europe after WW2.

B) The British apologists for Stalinism were not innocent victims of it, by willfully ignoring the truth about the USSR they helped sustain it. All they suffered was losing their secular "religion" and falling out with people who stayed in the CP.

C) Was a split in a party that never elected more than 2 MPs really of great historical significance?

D) How parochial is it possible to get? British newspaper reports anniversary of critical event in another country's history by remembering its impact on internal dynamics of very minor UK political party.


Blogger cassilis said...

To be fair to the Guardian Luke (not something I'm inclined to do that often) I think their angle is about the impact on the British Left rather than just the CP.

The continued presence of figures like Galloway & Sheridan (granted not part of the mainstream left) suggest that the British Left has never entirely rid itself of that lunatic wing who are happy to embrace 'mass-murdering tyrannies'.

11:44 am, October 23, 2006

Anonymous Gregg said...

Which mass-murdering tyrants has Tommy Sheridan embraced?

And whilst the article certainly refers to "The Left" in the title, it examines only the CPGB. Admittedly, Hungary didn't cause splits anywhere else, but that's no excuse for equating the CPGB with the whole of the left.

Luke - your point (B) is made in the article, albeit with the most astounding understatement, by Dorothy Thompson: "we did excuse an awful lot of appalling behaviour on the grounds that it was pushing the necessary buttons to move to the new post-capitalist form of society."

12:58 pm, October 23, 2006


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